Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday News And Views

A few things on the radar today....

Special Delivery? The confounded FedEx Tracker has been stuck on the same information since last Saturday, (not that I have been checking it constantly....because, know!), and at any rate, the frame/fork from Black Mountain Cycles is due in today, according to the FedEx folks.

Never believe any shipping tracker device, until your package is in hand, as I always say, so I'll just wait it out till it actually arrives. When it does, I have a temporary, "get-it-up-and-running" build I will throw at it to get it....well, up and running! It won't be fancy, but it'll do the trick for now. The funny thing is, I only have to buy a few parts to finish it off, and almost everything will be silver, which is what I wanted to go for anyway. If everything plays well, I may be able to start riding this thing yet this week.

Well, assuming you can believe the FedEx Tracker, which I do not. Just sayin'!

Breaking The Mold: You know, I have opined here before about carbon fiber, "me-too" frames coming out of the woodwork from all sorts of outlets that seem to have similar "DNA" to each other. In other words, they seem to be designed in a somewhat conservative manner and sold via Chinese or other outlets with minor tweaks to distinguish one from the other. I find all of that to be rather boring and un-inventive. I mean, anyone can order from a menu, and to my mind, it belies the potential of using carbon fiber composites as a frame material in the first place.

The running line on carbon has always been that the designers and engineers could do whatever shapes that optimized performance that were necessary. You didn't have to be constrained by tubular shapes, limited tube dimensions, or difficulty in forming. Carbon fiber is very labor intensive, and thus, usually expensive. However; imagine if a wild, multi-shaped frame set could be produced to address all the inefficiencies in 29"er frame design. Then the price might just be worth the performance gained. Maybe the full potential of composites technology could be brought to bear to elevate performance, and not mimic the look of a steel cruiser rendered in carbon fiber.

Well, finally we're starting to see something like this with the Chiru Bikes I reported on, and with these images released by Giant of their upcoming XtC Composite 29"er. Giant appears to have taken a "clean sheet" approach to hard tail 29"er design with a material that allows what otherwise would be impossible to render in metal. Offset down tube, asymmetrical chain stays, and massive looking tube shapes. You may have seen some of this on road bikes, or full suspension designs, but never on such a big wheeled machine has this been seen before.I have a link to more on the Twenty Nine Inches post about this bike here.

<==image poached from the Salsa Cycles blog.

Frostbike '11: happens that I'll be seeing some other new, fun stuff this coming weekend up at Quality Bicycle Product's annual dealer only show, Frostbike. This also means that another recent tradition that sprang up a couple of years ago will also take place again. That would be the hanging out at Mike's Bikes in Northfield, MN with Ben Witt, and friends. There will be merriment of a different sort this time though, and you can look for reports on all of that coming this weekend from the source of the action.

This year promises to be a good one from the looks of it, if you are into 29"ers, so stay tuned and look forward to my reports here and on Twenty Nine Inches. One of the new rigs I hope to be reporting on is the new Mamasita, (image in red shown here), which has always been close to my heart, as it was the introduction of the original Mamasita to me at a Salsa event held out at the Boy Scout Camp that I got to know Gnat and Kid a bit better. That was a great weekend that I'll not forget, and that memory is tied to the Mamasita for me. I know I am looking forward to seeing that bike, and the rest of the goods, and most importantly- the people, this weekend.


blackmountaincycles said...

And never take their pick-up date as the gospel either. Looking forward to seeing that bad-boy built and dirty.

Cellarrat said...

looking forward to seeing that rig for sure!